Flocks of hunters will be converging on Yuma County and northeast Colorado for the opening weekend of the pheasant season.
The season runs from Saturday, November 11, through January 31, 2024.
“The hunting should be quite a bit better this year than in past years because most of the harvest usually are the yearlings,” Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife Officer Josh Melby said.
Pheasant hunting opportunities have been down in recent years thanks to drought conditions leading to unfavorable hatching conditions.
However, the snow and rain last winter and spring led to good cover. The result was a good hatch in 2023. Melby noted though that it will not be a banner year for hunting as the existing bird population was low, pointing to the low counts in the spring.
Still, the hunting prospects at least are heading toward the right direction.
Nearly all of the area corn harvest should be completed by the opening weekend, and there is plenty of cover for the birds. They probably will not need to bunch up much however as weather conditions are supposed to be sunny and warm all weekend.
Area hotels are reporting reservations are full for the opening weekend, as is usually the case.
Hunters are reminded to get permission from landowners before hunting on private land. However, there is a considerable amount of walk-in access land already available to hunters. Hardcopy maps are available at locations where hunting licenses are sold. One also can pull up the maps online, and even use Google Earth.
Melby will have plenty of help this weekend as several Parks and Wildlife officers will be in the county making sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If landowners have any issues with hunters, they are asked to call Melby at (970) 630-4415, or the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 332-4805.
The Yuma County Pheasant’s Forever Banquet will be Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. at the Irrigation Research Foundation north of Yuma.
A barbecue meal will be served beginning at 5:30. There will be a variety of games and prizes for adults and youth. The live auction will start at 7 p.m.